8:00am PT by Josh Wigler
The Seven Greatest Fools on 'Game of Thrones'
The sing-song stylings of Stannis Baratheon's fool Patchface are nowhere to be found on Game of Thrones, much to the chagrin of conspiracy theorist readers of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Several fans interpret the court jester's rambling rhymes as prophetic predictions of the future — perhaps even nefarious in nature.
Alas, Patchface, like so many other characters exclusively glimpsed in Ice and Fire, does not exist in the HBO adaptation of the books. Indeed, there are few fools on Thrones, at least in the traditional sense of the word. What the show lacks in professional clowns, however, it more than compensates for with characters who foolishly forge their way forward into inadvisable situations and schemes.
In honor of April Fools' Day, here are seven Thrones characters whose questionable choices more than live up to a dark interpretation of the whimsical holiday's spirit.
1. Eddard Stark (Sean Bean)
Not that Ned needs further grief for his shocking season one exit, but it's worth noting that numerous individuals warned the Lord of Winterfell not to bark up the Baratheon-Lannister family tree. But he was dead-set in his noble ways, and for that, he died, beheaded at the end of a medieval noir gone horribly wrong. Most viewers think of Ned as a hero, and rightly so. Many others, however, view him as little more than a fool — including countless King's Landing citizens, and the smirking Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen).
2. Dontos Hollard (Tony Way)
King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) nearly executed this drunk knight. Instead, Sansa (Sophie Turner) convinced her wicked fiancé to demote the man, turning him into a court jester — making Dontos one of the rare literal fools on Thrones. He died a foolish death, too, saving Sansa on Littlefinger's behalf, only to receive a face full of arrows as a reward.
3. Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen)
In an attempt to impress his fellow Iron Islanders, Theon broke away from the Stark wolf pack in season two, seizing Winterfell in the name of House Greyjoy. In the moment, it was a critical mistake, resulting in the sloppy deaths of several beloved individuals. Seasons later, the severity of Theon's foolish decision is fully known, thanks to his physical and psychological mutilation at the hands of the literal and figurative bastard Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon).
4. Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey)
"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die." The Queen Regent of Westeros spoke these wise words early on in Thrones' run, but has done little to heed them herself, especially in the most recent season. She armed the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) and his Faith Militant in an effort to thwart House Tyrell's ascent to power — but in the process, Cersei gave these pious soldiers the exact ammunition needed to burn her supremacy and dignity to the ground. Fortunately for Cersei, with the monstrous Robert Strong (Hafthor Julius Bjornsson) on her side, she might have the last laugh yet.
5. Kraznys mo Nakloz (Dan Hildebrand)
Those who don't remember the man's name certainly remember his death. He's the foul-mouthed Astapor slaver who sold Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) an army of Unsullied warriors, in exchange for one of her dragons. Expecting a rich pay day, the witless worm instead received a hot breath of dragon-fire to the face — the just price he paid for a lifetime of monstrous mistreatment, and a life-ending moment of profound ignorance. The lesson? Never underestimate the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea.
6. Janos Slynt (Dominic Carter)
The former City Watch commander overplayed his hand on countless occasions, but his two biggest goofs tie back to his role in Ned Stark's death. First, he was sent to the Night's Watch by Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), as punishment for turning on Lord Stark. Second, he mouthed off to Lord Commander Jon Snow (Kit Harington) one too many times, resulting in a swift beheading at Jon's hands — closing the karmic loop that started when Janos betrayed Ned.
7. The Baratheon Leadership
Though Patchface does not exist on Thrones, there's no shortage of fools within House Baratheon. The only question is, which fool is the most foolish? Is it Stannis (Stephen Dillane), who so firmly believed in his place as the rightful king of Westeros that he killed his own daughter? Is it Melisandre (Carice van Houten), who engineered countless sacrifices in service of a false king, even with the realm's rightful savior (hint-hint, Jon Snow) so close by? Perhaps it's Davos (Liam Cunningham), an otherwise level-headed individual who nevertheless exhibited Eddard levels of honor and duty to his delusional "king." Stand inside the great halls of Dragonstone and point a finger in any direction, and it will inevitably land on a tremendous fool.
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